Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here.
Today’s column is brought to you by the Bureau of First Impressions. That agency, like the “Bruce Jacobson Jr. for United States Senate from Texas” campaign, is an imaginary entity that may or may not really exist.
Candidates started officially filing for the 2018 election cycle in Texas over the weekend. Some were doing their prep last week — and one of them forgot to hang an “under construction” sign on his website and his campaign.
Jacobson, an executive in Christian TV in Tarrant County, told reporters earlier this year that he was “prayerfully considering” a primary challenge against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
He’s still thinking, apparently, but someone in his camp is working on his website.
It’s like turning on a microphone with nothing to say, or a camera with nothing to see.
Here’s what it said on his brucefortexas.com website on Friday afternoon.
“This test website is merely a temporary platform for a federal candidacy that may or may not be announced shortly. This beta website does not constitute an announcement of a candidacy and does not indicate support or opposition for any announced candidate.”
That tells us that there’s a lawyer hiding in there somewhere. Here’s a translation: “We haven’t filed our paperwork, campaign finance information, etc. Please don’t spank us.”
The earlier version, snagged by The Texas Tribune’s alert political editor, Aman Batheja, was much less lawyerly and much, much more entertaining:
“This Website is Under Construction.
“This is highly likely going to be the website for Bruce Jacobson, Jr. for his possible upcoming campaign for the United States Senate. This website is currently going undergoing testing.
“Had this website been live, you would have seen information about Bruce Jacobson, Jr., about his positions on the issues for the 2018 United States Senate campaign that impact the great State of Texas.
“Had this website been live, you would be given area to donate to this possibly upcoming almost official campaign for the State of Texas representative who could be serving Texas in the United States Senate.
“Had this website been live, you would most likely be viewing the Bruce Jacobson, Jr. For United States Senate announcement video which is of course, currently being edited for a highly possible announcement and press release about Bruce Jacobson, Jr. most likely to be announcing next week and then serving as the Senator from the great State of Texas after a peaceful non-combative primary with the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz will be defeated and we would really, really love your support in the primary and the general election, provided we announce sometime next week.”
It’s a small mistake — the sort of thing that happens when the effervescent marketing arm of a campaign gets ahead of things. Some of the website looked last week like it will probably look if and when the Jacobson juggernaut leaves the runway. His biography is up. There’s a page where supporters and curious political reporters can throw their names onto the campaign’s email list.
The place to take donations isn’t live yet — this isn’t a campaign yet, right? But the “Nationbuilder” template for the site is there, along with setup instructions for larval campaigns like this one: “Accepting donations requires a couple of steps... Be sure to delete this information or replace it with a short reason to provide financial support for your efforts.”
Why would he run? What would his positions be? That’s unknown for this maybe-maybe not effort. One page is set up for “United State Senate Issues for Texas in 2018,” but all it says, after the typos, is “Stay Tuned.”
Okay. There’s time. We can wait.
Read related Tribune coverage:
The easiest way to judge public officials is the same way you judge the people where you work: Are they doing a good job? [Full story]
The most liberal and the most conservative members of the Texas House might not matter much when it comes to electing a new speaker — if the decision is made on partisan grounds. [Full story]
Given their intractable positions over gun laws, government officials are as powerless in the face of mass shootings as they are in the aftermaths of tornados or hurricanes. Unable to prevent them, they can only react in horror and sorrow. [Full story]